As usual I'm just posting some excerpts, so make sure to check some of the articles worth reading more.
William Shatner on Turning 80, 'Major Tom,' and Fighting Lee Majors on '$#*! My Dad Says'
In addition to his riding, his sitcom, and his interview shows, Shatner also has two new projects in the works: a book about "the dullest subject you could find: Me," he joked, and another album where he talk-sings his way through songs involving the 'Major Tom' character from David Bowie's 'Space Oddity.' He started the project when looking at songs for a sci fi album idea that someone brought him, and he noticed that Tom had been a character in a number of those songs.
When he gets started talking about that project, his usual cool and measured demeanor turns to excitement, as he talks about working with a number of famous musicians (but, sadly, not Ben Folds this time around; he was busy) on this album.
"We've got 20 great musicians, some of them well-known -- Brad Paisley for example -- that will appear with me on the album playing guitar. Brian May... I'm doing 'Bohemian Rhapsody'... Either Brian May is going to repeat it or somebody else will do Brian May's guitar solo on 'Bohemian Rhapsody' and Brian May will play something else on another cut... It is turning out to be monumental."
Why does Shatner push himself so much at this age? "I think what I'm saying to myself is, 'not yet.'" I ask him what he means by "not yet," even though I have an inkling, and he confirms it. To him, the thing he doesn't want to do yet is pass on to that great stage in the sky.
"I think it's validation. If I were lousy at it I would stop, but I've gotten quite good at it," he said about his craft.
But he's a young'un in the business, given the fact that the hottest actor in Hollywood right now, Betty White, is 89. "That means I've got 9 more years. I could do another series. I'm joking."
William Shatner Is Recording Star-Studded Metal Album in L.A.: We Got the Details
Track list currently includes "Bohemian Rhapsody" (which May will not be playing on-no joke), a Byrds song, "Space Odyssey," "Iron Man," "Learn to Fly" and... wait for it... "SHE BLINDED ME WITH SCIENCE"! Brace for impact, that one's got a chance of replacing "Rocket Man" as all time greatest Shatner moment.
[UPDATE: LA Weekly's own Liz Ohanesian points out that The Byrds have a song called "Space Odyssey" and that it's quite likely our Deep Throat embedded in the Shatner operation was referring to it and not to Bowie's "Space Oddity"--which The Onion's AV Club's snotty commenters called us out for. This should teach us to pay attention to The Onion...]
Our sources in the studio today said it was "too early to confirm a lot of the artists and songs" but that "what's been recorded so far is fucking amazing, he is fucking amazing".
Amanda Tapping (Sanctuary, Stargate SG-1) and William Shatner ($#*! My Dad Says, Boston Legal, Star Trek) are pairing up in The Zenoids, a new animated series which will launch on Shatner’s social website, MyOuterspace.com. The Zenoids tells the story of a family of space-faring Amphibinoid musicians who travel the galaxy performing their musical act. Shatner and Tapping play the husband and wife team of “Kozmo” and “Zara” trying keep their superstar dreams alive, while living adventure to adventure with their two teenage kids, and space dog, “Orbit”. Production of the initial four webisodes will begin in late February, 2011.
In addition to starring in the series, Shatner and Tapping will also serve as Executive Producers for the show. As well, Tapping has been asked to be a “Starship Captain” on Shatner’s site, where viewers can talk about the program, submit ideas, chat with each other and get the latest news on the show.
“It was definitely exciting to get the call asking me to be a part of The Zenoids with William Shatner,” commented Amanda Tapping. “We met last summer at Comic Con in San Diego at the launch event for Myouterspace.com. At that time, I joked that we should do a show together. Who knew it would come true? I’m very excited to be working with such an icon.”
“I’m glad to welcome Amanda Tapping as part of our team at www.myouterspace.com,” commented Shatner. “She will be the Captain of a Starship where she will guide science fiction talent to be creative, as well as lend her voice to our projected sci-fi animated film The Zenoids.”
An interactive and forward-thinking project, The Zenoids is accepting scripts from fans and up-and-coming screenwriters through an online submission process. One winning script will be chosen to be produced and turned into an animated short webisode of The Zenoids. Submission process and guidelines are available at www.myouterspace.com.
Kozmo (SHATNER) and Zara (TAPPING) were once a popular singing duo on their home planet Zeno. Now their family lives on a spaceship as old as their last single, bopping around the galaxy, trying to keep the dream alive. Daughter Ziri and son Iggy have grown up in the band, reluctantly helping their parents sing for their supper – and engine parts. Good gigs are hard to get, but Zara keeps the schedule full, even if it’s only bowling alleys and carnival shows on amusement asteroids. Kozmo’s always got a new pie-in-the sky idea, invention or big-time deal that would set them for life yet never pans out. Between Kozmo’s hustle and Zara’s bustle, the Zenoid family always scrapes by…in spite of their adventures.
The Zenoids story was developed by William Shatner and Sammy Oriti.
Man of Enterprise
Much of the persona Shatner would develop — onstage, off, and in between — is indebted to his training as a Shakespearean actor. (The Shakespearean and the Shatnerian are closely, maybe inextricably, linked.) At Stratford, he worked under classically trained actors such as Anthony Quayle and James Mason, and alongside Christopher Plummer, now considered the grand heir to their Shakespearean legacy. (Plummer and Shatner would square off as nemeses in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, a mostly dismal effort that featured Plummer’s Klingon General Chang deploying Shakespeare quotes with minimal provocation.)
Acting for the stage, much more so than for television or film, requires sturdy vocal projection — the ability to hurl out lengthy, lofty, and loud soliloquies that begin in the diaphragm and resonate in the theatre’s nosebleeds. Such grandiosity lends itself to overacting. Combine this with a tendency to… Read. Almost. Every line. Just a few. Words. At a time (perhaps a function of growing up under a mother who hammered home the principles of articulation, emphasis, and inflection) and the essence of the Shatnerian begins to take root.
But just as “Kafkaesque” doesn’t just describe the condition of having too much paperwork to do, “Shatnerian” isn’t merely shorthand for hammy acting demarcated by a certain truncated enunciation. More than that, to be Shatnerian is to be dynamically, effervescently alive in a role. Not to get lost in it, in the style of master thespians and method actors, but to attack it with an urgent swagger — to chew through so much scenery you spend the downtime between takes picking chunks of it out of your teeth. The Shatnerian actor doesn’t so much become the character. The character becomes him. A truly Shatnerian performance can be bombastic, sure, and maybe even a bit of a joke. But it’s a joke that any adept pupil of the school of Shatner is always in on.
“He’s a survivor,” says Halpern, “and I feel that a lot of people respect that.” Survivor. It’s a word Fisher echoes. Many celebrities can subsist in a hand-to-mouth, paycheque-to-paycheque, “I’ll take Martin Mull to block” kind of way. But few endure in a manner that’s not just saleable in the eyes of network sitcom bigwigs, but culturally salient. And nobody else teleports from Shakespearean thespian to sci-fi icon to streetwise crusader to patron saint of studied self-parody.
Weird? Yes. Undeniably. Winkingly, nudgingly, smirkingly so. But weird in a way necessitated by all the pop songs left to be incongruously covered, all the hotel and flight rates left to be ruthlessly negotiated, and all the shit left unsaid. Weird in the way that psychokinesis, or magnetism, or an adrenaline-pumped mother jacking a Buick over her head to free her trapped toddler is weird. The kind of person whose sundry quirks can be explained but never explained away. In a word: Shatnerian.